By Christine Lavelle
HOLIDAYMAKERS are being urged to take extra care when traveling to foreign countries, after new figures revealed five Scots die every week in Benidorm.
The main causes of death are heart attacks, heatstroke and road accidents, and the most common victims are males aged between 50 and 55.
It was revealed that more than 260 bodies are flown home to Scotland every year from Alicante Airport, near the Costa Brava holiday resort.
Frank Lynch, a Glasgow-based funeral director, brings home the bulk of the bodies, and said each year he handles around 450 cases.
He said: “The heat’s the biggest killer – particularly for men in their early 50s.
“They lie baking in the sun and don’t realise just how hot they’re getting.
“Before they know it, they’re suffering heatstroke – and that can quickly lead to heart failure.
Mr Lynch said others die after jumping in the pool or sea to cool off, but the shock of the sudden temperature drop can stop their hearts.
He said: “Heart attacks aside, most of the bodies we bring home are of people killed in road accidents.
“Scots travel – and die – all over the world and we bring bodies back from Mumbai, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, everywhere.
“But most common is Spain, particularly Alicante.
“We easily repatriate five Scots a week from there on average – and that’s week in, week out, the whole year round.”
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman offered her advice to Scots heading abroad, and said people have to take better care of themselves outside of their comfort zones.
She said: “Traveling to different climates can expose you to health risks – you should be aware of the dangers.
“Drink plenty of water in hot climates to avoid dehydration and be safe in the sun – avoid sunbathing between 11am and 3pm.
She added taking out travel insurance is essential, to avoid facing massive medical bills if treatment is required.
Peter Cornall, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said cold water shock can kill very quickly.
He said: “On really hot days we all want to cool down when we overheat.
“However, if you’re not used to cold water, you should climb in gradually and ensure you acclimatise to the temperature.
“Avoid over-exerting yourself in very hot weather.
“Keep hydrated and stay in the shade during the hottest hours of the day – and don’t forget the sun cream.”
Almost 70 per cent of Scots going on holiday this year will be heading abroad.